Monday, April 15, 2013

Surely, I know the plans I have for you...

Life often seems to be a constant state of planning - whether it is the mundane tasks like planning what to make for dinner, what to wear, or when you're able to get the oil changed in the car; or the more involved planning that goes into vacations, birthdays or weddings - we're always planning something.

There are times when things get planned or set for us - like having to have our taxes filed by midnight tonite or doctor's appointments.  I think about many of our young people this week who will be taking state tests for most of the week (not something that they would plan for themselves).  Please keep them in prayer.

Still other times, our plans get disrupted by weather, illness, dead car battery and the like.  Life does not always go according to our plans.  We have to make adjusts or as that GPS voice tells us "recalculating".

"For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope." (Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah prophesied these words when the people of God were in exile.  They most certainly didn't want to be there; they want to be in their homeland and for life to go according to their plans.  In the preceding verses, they are encouraged to go ahead and live their lives as fruitfully as they are able and to trust that God would soon provide the opportunity for them to return from exile.

Jeremiah is not saying that all of our lives are pre-determined and we just have to wait for God to pull on our puppet strings for that plan to go into effect.  God provides us with hope with opportunities that might seem inconceivable now (think of Abraham & Sarah having a child in their own age: Genesis 18:1-14).  God gives us the resources and people to assist us in our lives (think of Solomon's gift of wisdom: I Kings 3:7-12; or Moses called to free people from slavery in Exodus 3:1-4:12).

God offers us opportunities, people and resources to guide us along our path and to help us discover God's plans for the fullness of life for us.   It may not always happen according to our timeline or in ways that we would ever expect - but the plans are there for us to accept or not.

My "plans" included getting married at a much younger age.  I was very lonely for many years as I waited for my "prince charming" to arrive on my doorstep.  It wasn't until I began to be open to different ways of meeting others that I met Michael (on, of all things) when I was 42.   
My other "plans" included using my BA in Theatre in a more direct way - maybe even on Broadway until I realized that I did not have that level of talent to be able to support myself and that that wasn't what I really wanted to do.  It wasn't until a friend of mine who was thinking about going to seminary shared some of the seminary course catalogs with me that I realized that this is what God was calling me to - the theatre background gave me the confidence that I previously did not have to be able to be in front of others.

"For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope." (Jeremiah 29:11

What are the opportunities, resources and people that God has placed in your path?  How have you been open to God's leading and guiding?

I had our confirmation students memorize the verse from Jeremiah as they continue to make their life plans and to look for the ways that God is a part of that plan.   How about you doing the same?

1 comment:

  1. You never know where life is going to take you. I met my husband through and so did my older sister. Our intended plans may never work out the way we had hoped and thought of but that could also lead us to a more positive or different path instead. Change is always hard to accept but sometimes it surprises us in a good way.

    On a more serious note, please pray for those in Boston who at the marathon were affected by the bombings and so there is lose of life and injuries as well.